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Jan 26, 2017

Uber releases public data platform (a drop in the ocean)

I have always argued that we have one major construction bug in the web: Data that I cause should be mine, and not belonging to the service provider. I can lend this data to the company in order for it to be able to provide better services, but I also should be able to delete it, or take it elsewhere, or publish it if I want. Everyone posted their Spotify data analysis at the end of 2016, but I didn't like it because it showed data that I felt was mine, and that I should be able to take with me to Pandora or elsewhere if I wanted to. Same with my movements: Car2Go and DriveNow have data on my automotive history, Lufthansa and AirBerlin on my flying, DeutscheBahn on my train rides etc. - and Google maps, if you have location tracking on, all of them - but these should be mine. If we all put them together or give them in trusted hands, the public could greatly benefit from it. Uber has tons and tons of data on traffic, and - kudos - has decided to make it public. I guarantuee that no single traffic planning government entity in any city has comparable data to invest our, the tax payer's money, in how to design cities and make traffic more effective and safe. You have to be grateful to Uber for publishing this, but it is also a reminder that there's so much super-useful stuff out there being held away from our societies.